Rock Climbing Terminology – Climbing Slang

Are you having trouble understanding and conversing with other Climbers at the gym or crag? Does it seem like they are speaking some obscure language when talking about climbing?

Slang is a huge part of how climbers communicate to each other. This can be anything from how a hold feels to how terrifying a route is.

Hopefully reading the list below will get you started understanding some of the lingo that transpires between climbers.

Climbing Terms/Slang

Note: This list is currently being built and will be an ongoing process. If you want to add somthing to the list please leave a comment below!

General Terms

  • Beta – Information on how to climb a route or other climbing related things
  • Highball – Bouldering at a height where injury is likely (over 20′-25′)
  • Lowball – Bouldering under 10 ft
  • Balmy – Hot and Sweaty (bad for friction)
  • Whipper – Taking a massive fall
  • Send – Climbing a route or problem
  • Flash – Sending a route or problem first try
  • Onsight – Sending a route first try without beta
  • Redpoint – Sending a route after your first try
  • Crux – The hardest part of the climb
  • Barndoor – Spinning off the wall due to imbalance
  • Flapper – When a callus peels and leaves an open wound
  • Heady – Mentally challenging, usually scary
  • Heinous – Terrible, hard, painful, etc..
  • Bullet – Hard and virtually unbreakable rock
  • Choss – Crumbly and low-quality rock
  • Polished – Rock that has been overused by climbers

Hand Movement/Holds

  • Jug – Large and Incut hold
  • Pinch – Hold where the thumb is required to hold
  • Crimp – Small incut hold that is difficult to hang from
  • Sloper – Rounded hold with no edge
  • Pocket – Circle shaped hold
  • Mono – Pocket that can only fit one finger
  • Gaston – Hold facing towards the climber
  • Sidepull – Hold facing away from the climber
  • Undercling – Hold facing downward
  • Horn – A pointed lip usually on top of a boulder
  • Ear – a sidepull flake
  • Slimper – A slopey crimper
  • Breadloaf – Usually a pinch about the size of a bread loaf
  • Lock off – Holding a move with elbow joint fully contracted
  • Dyno – A move that requires a lunge or a jump
  • Static – A move where no momentum is required
  • Deadpoint – A move done while imbalanced

Foot Movement

  • Heel Hook – Using the heel of your shoe on the wall
  • Toe Hook – Using the top of your toe on the wall
  • Toe Jam – Wedging your toe in a crack
  • Heel-Toe Cam – Using your foot as a cam in a hole or seam
  • Knee Bar – Using your knee or thigh as a cam in between two surfaces
  • Flag – Holding your leg out to balance your body
  • Back Flag – Same as Flag except crossing your leg to the opposite side
  • Bat Hang – A double toe hook above your hands
  • Drop Knee – Dropping your knee towards the ground for leverage

In Conclusion

There are so many terms that we as climbers use every day. If you know a term that isn’t listed here please drop us a comment below and we will add it to the list asap!

As always, keep crushing!

Owner and Operator of Every Last Rock. He is dedicated to spreading the Stoke about all things climbing. Often found Bouldering around the US and obsessively training.

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